Δημήτρης Κουμπαρούλης, Administrator
In this page http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Weekly_Maqam we read that in the Sephardic Middle Eastern Jewish tradition
This is similar to Byzantine composers using Plagal Second mode (a Hijaz equivalent) to chant about solemn and sorrowful events and ideas.
Maqam Hijaz, which is named after a region in Saudi Arabia, is used to mark solemn occasions. When there is a death in the parasha (Sarah and Abraham in Chayei Sarah, Jacob and Joseph in Vayechi, or Nadab and Abihu in Acharei Mot), or a tragic episode (Golden Calf in Ki Tissa, Sin of the Spies in Shelach Lecha and the Temple's Destruction in the week of Devarim), then this maqam is applied. At funerals, this maqam is usually applied.